It really was inevitable, friends. The time has come for me to discuss my first foray into MMORPG gaming. In a way, I owe Runescape a lot. Without it, I don’t know if I would have tried any other online games or simply gone back to Pokemon. For those of you who are unaware, Runescape is a browser based MMORPG. There are no classes, races, or professions; it is entirely open ended. You are a human in a time where the gods have returned to the land, often learning about intricate lore and trying to discern your place while trying not to be killed by angering the wrong one.
And that’s just the bare bones version! Runescape is unrated by the ESRB, but I would hazard a guess at T for Teen (especially considering Jagex strictly prohibits anyone under the age of 13 from playing!).
So let’s talk history for a minute. Back when I started playing Runescape – quite some time ago – the tutorial was still on its first iteration: Tutorial Island. That island has been gone for quite some time now, and a myriad of reworks of the tutorial have been in place. The entire starting area has been up and moved, free vs members region borders have been redrawn, a ton has changed. Combat recently got shifted from a point and click system to a far more advanced system of customizing abilities and autocasting spells. It’s not the game it was when I knew it, but that’s OK. Games mature and grow, and overall I’m still fairly confident that Jagex has kept true to themselves and will continue to release exceptional content (especially around the holidays).
Up top I mentioned that Runescape doesn’t do classes or races or professions. The truth is that you can be a mage one minute and an archer (ahem, “Ranger”) the next. Feel like mixing it up with a broadsword? Go for it. Everyone has access to the same pool of skills, levels 1 through 99 (120 in one special case). Some of those skills are directly related to combat (Strength, Attack, Constitution, Magic, Ranging, Summoning, Prayer, Defense) while some are more profession oriented. Some skills directly impact your ability to work on other skills (Runecrafting will let you make Runes, used in Magic, while Fletching will allow you to make bow and arrows or crossbow bolts used in Ranged [archery]). Everything is connected, but because of the player economy it’s possible to skip over skills you might dislike or even skip entire processes. Tons of players make in-game money by performing tasks that others deem boring, and then trade those goods for the things they find boring.
The lore is some of the richest I have come across in any game, bar none. Wars between gods, feuding families, and demons rising are only some of the interesting tales you can discover. Personalities such as a mountain troll named “My Arm” and an evil Gnome make guest appearances throughout, often leading to humorous dialogue and sticky situations. Maybe you’re feeling up to the challenge of slaying a Dragon (there are many types to choose from) and proving yourself a true Champion of the realm. Or perhaps slaying Vampires and Werewolves in the land of Myreditch is more your speed. Most of this is uncovered through questing, which is far different than the quests most are used to.
Quests in Runescape revolve less around killing a set number of something (that would be the Slayer skill) and more around actually fulfilling a series of requests, killing what needs to be killed, and then doing whatever needs to be done. Some quests involve collecting a few of something (or buying that something from the Grand Exchange) and then running errands for people while others involve stealthily infiltrating a secret base and exploring to sabotage it. In one series of quests you pose as a member of a cult called H.A.M., which stands for Humans against Monsters. By incapacitating their members you are able to obtain pieces of gear to dress like a cultist and go unnoticed. Monkey Madness involves flying to an island that is out to kill you. Literally everything on the island wants you dead; especially the gnome responsible for the ordeal. In the end you unlock a heap of rewards. Every quest in Runescape is so drastically different that it’s always a new experience. Oh, and if they say they want you to do them One Small Favour, it’s a trap. You have been warned.
Sadly, many people discount Runescape immediately because their graphics aren’t quite up to scratch with other top games, but they are rapidly improving. If you are 13+ and looking for something free to test (and believe me when I say the hours of free content are many) without a download I would strongly recommend Runescape. Learn some skills, try to fight, make the adventure yours.
Have you ever played Runescape? Know of any other great games out there? I’m always looking for something new to try, and my reader-suggested topics are coming sooner than you might think! Let me know in the comments below.